Clare Richards is the founder of our group and grew up in Cornwall learning the piano, the violin and the viola. She went to the RNCM and studied viola with Christopher Balmer, Roger Bigley and Alex Robertson. After graduating from college, Clare stayed on in Manchester to pursue a career playing and teaching the violin, viola, and piano. She moved to Burley in 1999 and has built up a thriving teaching practice. In 2004, she took a year’s lessons with Peter Maslin and gained a violin diploma with distinction. She has played violin and viola with the Kelsey Quartet, the Sinfonia of Leeds, and Skipton Camerata and was the leader of Otley Chamber Orchestra. Clare is married and has two children. Recently, she has stepped down as leader so that she can spend more time with her family.
Derek studied music at the University of Oxford and learnt violin with Kathryn Hardman & Christopher Hirons. He currently studies with baroque violinist Asuka Sumi in Otley. Derek is a keen player of both modern and baroque violin (and latterly viola) and plays in many orchestras and chamber ensembles. As well as Wharfedale Chamber Ensemble, these include Sinfonia of Leeds, Leeds Baroque, Otley Baroque, Essex Baroque Orchestra and Ad Hoc Baroque. He has performed as soloist with Oxford University Sinfonietta, New Chamber Opera, Leeds Baroque and regularly at the Cambridge Early Music Summer School. In 2017 Derek was awarded a bursary to perform in the baroque orchestra at the Dartington International Summer School, under the direction of Laurence Cummings and Robert Howarth. He has played previously with Chelsea Opera Group and the Solomon Orchestra in London, as well as with the orchestras of the University of Amsterdam and the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam. Outside of music, Derek has a Physics degree and a PhD in molecular biology. He currently works as a private tutor in Maths & Physics in the Otley area where he lives. If there is any time left he enjoys a spot of road cycling.
Ben Crick has established a reputation as an innovative and original conductor who is comfortable working with diverse and challenging repertoire; he is a former BBC Music Fellow. In recent years he has conducted concertos with Tasmin Little, Raphael Walfisch, Peter Donohoe, Nicholas Daniel, Jennifer Pike and Benjamin Frith as well as conducting Handel’s Messiah with Dame Emma Kirkby performing the soprano solos. His orchestral repertoire ranges from Bach to contemporary works with a special interest in music of the British 20th century. He is committed to new music, regularily conducting world premieres, and is also passionate about discovering unknown music from previous centuries. He is as comfortable in the opera house as on the concert platform having given performances of Madama Butterfly, Suor Angelica, Cosi Fan Tutti, Dido and Aeneas and Der Fliegende Holländer.
Alongside freelance conducting engagements with numerous ensembles, he is the Artistic Director of several professional ensembles including Skipton Building Society Camerata. With this group, alongside over one hundred more conventional performances, he has staged operas in pubs, commissioned and performed new works in shopping centres and run a chamber music series which exclusively performs in alternative venues. He is the Musical Director of the English National Philharmonic Orchestra and in this role conducted Lesley Garrett’s 2017 national tour. 2018 will see performances throughout the UK as well as in Norway, Lithuania, Estonia and China. He has collaborated with people as diverse as the poet Ian McMillan, presenter Fiona Bruce, actor Ben Faulks (CBBC’s Mr Bloom) and Giles Brandreth. This approach has resulted in several national awards for both excellence in performance and audience development.
With a commitment to higher education Ben is a visiting lecturer at several universities and is a staff conductor at Leeds College of Music. Outside his conducting career he has written for Classical Music Magazine, Opera Now and Early Music Today, been an guest contributor on BBC radio 2 and 3 programmes and arranges music for many societies including the Royal School of Church Music. Ben is our conductor for the 2019-2020 and 2020-2021 seasons.
David Greed studied at the Royal College of Music in London. In 1978 he was appointed Leader of the newly formed Orchestra of Opera North becoming the youngest leader in the country. He has appeared regularly as a soloist, both with the Opera North Orchestra and with other orchestras throughout the region. He has performed the Sibelius, Elgar, Bruch, Mendelssohn and Barber concertos with the Orchestra of O.N. He has appeared as guest Leader with many orchestras - The Philharmonia, City of Birmingham, National Orchestra of Wales, BBC Philharmonic, Halle, Royal Liverpool Philharmonic, Northern Sinfonia, Bournemouth Sinfonietta, Royal Opera House, Orchestra of Welsh National Opera, Irish Chamber, Guildford Philharmonic, Manchester Camerata, Northern Chamber Orchestra and English National Ballet. He led the Orchestra of the Royal Opera on a concert tour of the U.S.A. David is the Principal Conductor and Music Director of the Sinfonia of Leeds. He also holds the position of Principal Conductor of the Cleveland Philharmonic Orchestra, Middlesborough, and has conducted the Helix Ensemble, the City of Leeds Youth Orchestra, and at the Royal Northern College and Chetham's School, Manchester. David has also made visits to the State of Kazakhstan and has held the position of Principal Guest Conductor with its National Symphony Orchestra. He coaches violin and holds masterclass sessions for the National Youth Orchestra violin sections.